Government amends NESREA Act, set to tackle environmental crimes
President Muhammadu Buhari has signed a new National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, NESREA amended bill into law to tackle environmental crimes in the country.
With the development, the agency has been empowered to promptly tackle perceived environmental threats, pollutants as well as impose stiffer penalties and fines on illegal trafficking in wildlife, endangered species and poaching.
A statement by deputy director of information of NESREA, Oyofo Sule, says under the amended Act, law officers can go ahead and carry out their duties, where delay could pose threat to life and environment.
“In the past, environmental crimes attract paltry fines and levies, with the amendment, the courts are now at liberty to impose stiffer fines that are commensurate to the gravity of the crime committed.”
It recalls the 1986 Koko Toxic Waste, which nothing was done by way of penalties, thereby allowing the unscrupulous businessmen who turned the nation’s entry points into dumping ground to go scot-free.
Meanwhile, Director General of NESREA, Dr. Lawrence Anukam has said that new healthcare waste regulations is coming to prevent indiscriminate disposal of waste from healthcare facilities in the country.He stated at 8th National Regulatory Dialogue in Abuja, explained that this is to ensure the safety of human health and environment, adding that they are looking at emerging issues and how to address them.
Anukam said they have gazetted 34 regulations, including Healthcare Waste Control, which would safeguard Nigerian environment, as well as lays emphasis on generation, handling and treating the waste.
Also, FCT minister, Muhammad Musa Bello, said that healthcare waste poses great dangers to Abuja residents, calling for proper enforcement of EIA, pollution control and solid waste management in the Territory.“There are over 200 hospitals and clinics here, which generate waste and makes it a major health challenge to the inhabitants. So, it is necessary to partner with others to achieve environmental protection.”
On his part, a former Commissioner of Police, Lawrence Alobi praised the Agency for being proactive, saying waste management must be given adequate attention to have friendly environment.